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May 05, 2020 | Tom Ballard

PART 2: Bill Brown’s approach helps “organizations sharpen goals and execute in three areas”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second article in a two-part series spotlighting Bill Brown, a long-time Nashville healthcare executive who has recently relaunched A2B Advisors.)

Every coach has a playbook, and Bill Brown of A2B Advisors in Nashville is no exception.

The long-time healthcare executive has based his approach on years of experience managing and growing companies. For Brown, it’s all about “helping organizations sharpen goals and execute in three areas” – strategy, accelerating revenue growth, and operations.

“Where many companies fall short is getting their goals right,” he says. For clients that he agrees to help, Brown wants them to have established goals for the next three years with an emphasis on quarterly milestones.

“The other key element many companies need help with is sharpening their marketing focus,” Brown explains. “It is not uncommon for organizations to want to be too many things to too many people in an attempt to grab as much revenue as possible.”

From there, he says that “what’s important is how you are executing.” That translates into “getting a good metric reporting system” and monitoring it regularly. Next is making sure that “you have planned your communications for every key group” – employees, investors, and customers to name three.

Finally, any executive with whom he consults needs to answer a key two-part question regarding how they execute: “Are you set-up to succeed? What’s going to keep you from achieving your goals?”

Brown has distilled his thinking into “The 7-Step Playbook” that is comprised of these elements:

  • Focus (What should you do?) where A2B Advisors uses a structured approach to help companies identify their “hedgehog” or the intersection of passion, expertise and target customer in such a way that it defines the client’s competitive market niche. This step drives development of three-year goals that include quarterly goals in year one.
  • Plan (Who should do it?) where quarterly goals for the first year: (1) are developed for each department within an organization and every employee; and (2) are correctly aligned with the overall goals of the company. This step also involves differentiating between core responsibilities of each individual and big projects that involve interorganizational teams with the accompanying accountabilities.
  • Score (How do you know you are doing it?) which involves the recording and communicating of weekly and monthly performance indicators to help ensure all employees and executives are focused on key items and understand the progress being made and/or challenges encountered. Brown describes this as “the backbone of the A2B execution framework.”
  • Process (How do you go about doing it – Part 1?) which involves Brown observing and offering advice on company execution in a variety of areas and tasks.
  • Culture (How do you go about doing it – Part 2?) which starts with fully defining and embracing the company’s core values and demonstrating commitment from the top executive(s) in everything from hiring to performance reviews, professional development opportunities, and celebratory events.
  • Communicate (How do you tell people what you are doing?) which he says is critical with stakeholders, both internal and external, and is also something that requires thoughtful preparation.
  • Mindset (How do you think about what you do?) which is where the top executives remove any self-limiting beliefs about what is possible and instead embrace what could be.

“My dream client would engage me for at least a year to really accelerate growth” Brown says. “This is also a great way for companies to prepare for a transaction.” That covers both enterprises that want to prepare for being acquired or raising money as well as those that might be looking at a company to acquire.

We asked where start-ups fit in his potential client mix?

“I would certainly consider early stage companies with a promising value proposition,” Brown said.

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